Jan 20, 2013

Cucumber, Tomato, Pineapple Salad

Contrary to what so many think, salads are not just for the Summer time. I personally like salad with my main meal which is dinner—I learned that from my Mom. I also learned that you don’t need too many ingredients to make a nice salad. I think that what really makes a good salad is it's dressing.


Ingredients
1 cucumber
2 large tomatoes (seeded)
1 can of pineapple (in chunks)
¼ cup of Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 packet of Goya Salad & Vegetable Seasoning
Parsley flakes
Salt and pepper (optional)

Instructions
Salad
  1. Make ridges on cucumber and slice thinly.
  2. Cut open tomatoes and remove all seeds
  3. Drain the pineapple chunks.
  4. Arrange cucumber, tomatoes and pineapple on a platter.
  5. Sprinkle with dry parsley
Vinaigrette
  1. Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salad seasoning. Stir. Set aside and drizzle over salad as desired.
  2. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad
Note:
To make the ridges in the cucumber do the following: Wash cucumber thoroughly. Take a fork and pressing the fork against the peel of cucumber, run the fork downward all around. Slice cucumber in thin slices.

Jan 18, 2013

Basic Cooking Ingredients

There are three (3) basic ingredients that a cook should not be without. These are: GARLIC, ONION, and SALT. The rest are flavor enhancers.

With these three main ingredients your dishes should taste great.
  • Garlic: Besides adding flavor to food, it has been used as medicine for treating different types of diseases.
  • Onion: There are many types of onions. Personally, I prefer Spanish onion. I like to use purple onions for salads.
  • Salt: It is a mineral composed mainly of sodium chloride. It is great for seasoning but should be consumed with caution, as too much or too little salt in your diet can cause neurological problems or even death.
So the next time you want to give a little flavor to your dish and if all you have are these three ingredients, your dish will taste great.

Jan 17, 2013

Eggplant in Tomato Sauce

Eggplant is a plant native to India. Its cultivation is quite old, for over 2,000 years. It was introduced to Africa by the Arabs and later to Europe and America by the Spanish.


I learned to cook eggplant with my Mom. She made it so good! But as I learned to cook I altered the recipe a little and always look for ways to improve it.

Eggplant is considered to be a fruit and not a vegetable. It can be cooked in different ways, i.e. in sauce, in lasagna, as meatballs, with eggs, over rice, with cheese, etc.

This recipe for Eggplant in Sauce



Ingredients
1 eggplant
Salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons onions (chopped)
½ red pepper (chopped)
½ green pepper (chopped)
1 jalapeno pepper (chopped)
1 teaspoon small capers
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ bunch parsley (chopped)
1 cube of Maggi chicken flavor bouillon
1-2 cups of water

Instructions

  1. Peel the eggplant and cut into small pieces. Salt and scrub eggplant with the salt. Set aside for a few minutes. (This is done to get a little of the seed out and also to take some of the bitterness off.)
  2. Rinse with clear water to remove the salt; Drain well. Set aside.
  3. In a skillet, bring to a medium heat the olive oil. Add all the other ingredients except the water.
  4. Add the eggplant. Sauté. Add 1 cup of water.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer.
  6. Add more water as needed.
  7. Cook eggplant until completely minced, or if you prefer, you might leave some pieces whole, as seen in the photo.
  8. Serve over white rice


  • You can use this same recipe to make lasagna. Instead of ground beef place it between the lasagna noodles as if using ground beef.
  • Also if you let the pieces cooked until minced, you can use it as dressing on Italian bread when making sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.
Yields 4 servings

Potato Skins

Potato skins are so good and easy to make. I’m stuffing these ones with, of course, potatoes.

You can stuff them with cheese, bacon…whatever you’d like. Since this month I’m refraining from meats, I won’t be using any bacon, ham, etc.—this is completely vegetarian. If you would like a potato skins recipe with some bacon, Taylor from TaylorTaskeATaste.com has one. You can visit his site and see his recipe.

Meanwhile, take a look at this recipe without the fat from the bacon.

Ingredients
4 medium potatoes (scrubbed and washed)
2 tablespoon butter (melted)
½ teaspoon Parsley flakes
Salt and pepper
1tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of onions (chopped)
2 tablespoons red pepper (chopped)
Fresh parsley (finely chopped)
Italian seasoning, a pinch
Green onions

Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350˚ F.
  • Poke the potatoes with fork. Bake the potatoes for about 45 minutes or until done.
  • Bring potatoes out of oven and cool for a few minutes (use cooking mitten) and cut potatoes in halves (lengthwise) on a cutting board. Scoop out the baked potato “meat” leaving a little bit of the “meat” of the potatoes attached to the skin, mash and set aside (keep warm.)
  • In a small sauce pan, melt butter; add parsley flakes and a pinch of salt.
  • Brush the potato skins with the butter mixture and place back in the oven on a baking sheet, cut face down, for another 10 minutes. The skins will turn crispy.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions and the red peppers. Pour over the mashed potatoes and mix well.
  • Add some Italian seasoning to the mashed potatoes. Add the fresh parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside.
  • Remove the potato skins and stuff with the mashed potatoes mixture. I used a small ice cream scoop to scoop the mash potatoes.
  • Top with chopped green onions.
Enjoy!

Jan 16, 2013

Chai Tea

Chai tea is originally from India. It is a century old drink but has become so popular throughout the world. People make them in many different ways. I first tried chai tea years ago, but had never made it myself.
I just ordered some Cardamom and couldn’t wait to make my own chai tea.
Here’s my recipe on chai tea.


It is actually easier than you think.

Ingredients
8 Cardamom pods
Fresh ginger (small piece) peeled and sliced
8 allspice corn (pimienta dulce)
3 star anise stars
4 whole cloves (optional)
A pinch of anise seed
1 stick of cinnamon
1 bag of black tea
Sugar to taste
Milk (hot) or coffee creamer
12 oz. of water

Instructions

  1. Bring to a boil all ingredients except for bag black tea. Simmer for five minutes.
  2. Add the bag of black tea to the simmering spices and brew for another five minutes
  3. Add hot milk or coffee creamer (prefer using coffee creamer)
  4. Add sugar

Jan 15, 2013

Vegetarian Chili

Looking for something different to serve on your next tailgating party? Well, look no further—here’s the recipe to a great vegetarian chili perfect for tailgating. This recipe is economical and healthy at the same time—it sure is a Winner!


Ingredients
2 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium onions (chopped)
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
1 red bell pepper (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
2 zucchinis (cut in medium cubes)
1 jalapeno pepper (chopped)
2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 can black beans (drained, rinsed)
1 can kidney beans (drained, rinsed)
1 can pinto beans (drained, rinsed)
2 cans stewed tomatoes (do not drain)
1 can of tomato sauce
½ bunch of parleys (chopped)
½ bunch of cilantro (chopped)
Salt & pepper (to taste)

Instructions

This chili was made in a crock pot. You might make it over the stove too.
  1. Turn your crock pot to on. Let it warm up while you prepare the vegetables.
  2. In a skillet, bring to medium heat the olive oil.
  3. Add onions, peppers, garlic and zucchinis. Sauté for a few minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients. 
  5. Transfer to the crock pot (already warmed) and simmer 3-4 hours or as long as you would like it to be. If you want the chili soupy simmer for less time but if you want it thick then let it simmer longer.
  6. Garnish with grated Cheddar or scallions.
NOTE: If you are not using a crock pot, follow steps 1-4 and transfer to a big pot.  Simmer 45 minutes to an hour, or until desired thickness is achieved.